Farmers in Masindi district have said the persistent sale of counterfeit agro-inputs by different dealers has affected their crop production as well as returns.
Simon Onadra, a maize farmer from Kyangamwoyo village in Pakanyi sub-county, said he lost about 60 acres of maize in 2021 due to the fall armyworm yet he had bought herbicides for spraying.
“I bought different chemicals from agro-input dealers around Masindi town, but nothing worked yet they would give me assurance,” he said.
“I lost maize which would have fetched me a lot of money to develop myself.”
James Balikurungi is a farmer, who also doubles as the LC3 chairperson for Labongo sub-county.
He said farmers need to be sensitized or else they will keep falling for counterfeits because most of them cannot easily tell the fake inputs from the genuine ones.
“These dealers need to be regulated. We want to fight household poverty and we cannot look on when people are making losses due to counterfeits,” said Balikurungi.
These were sentiments that arose during the 10th Agri-business Expo at Kihonda Demonstration Farm in Masindi.
Masindi’s acting district production officer, Dr. Fred Ssebuguzi, said the district leadership recently trained dealers of agro-inputs, who in turn have been registered for easy monitoring.
“Those dealing in livestock drugs are only permitted to operate with a license from the National Drug Authority. We are also registering them, and this will help us in monitoring,” said Ssebuguzi.
He advised farmers to keep sales receipts for reference in case the drugs bought are not effective.
Masindi Woman MP Dr, Florence Asiimwe Akiiki presided over the official opening of the two-day expo, during which she advised farmers to go organic, pointing at its association with various health benefits.
She also rallied them to plan to tap into the oil sector as suppliers.
The expo was organised by the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) in partnership with Masindi district Local Government.
This year’s edition was themed ‘Agro-industrialisation as a tool to sustainable farm income amidst changing climates’.